Friday, January 11, 2019

The Top Ten Movies of far...and why I'm late with them

I know, I know. You're supposed to do these lists by New Year's Eve. See, what had happened was...sigh...let's back up to the day in question. Actually, let's go to the day before.

December 30, 2018

If you didn't know, I'm a teacher. That means by the very end of December, I've been off work for a while. Like any movie blogger worth his/her weight in popcorn, I spent much of my time watching movies. Since I'm not always a good blogger, I didn't spend as much time as I wanted to writing about them. However, I was on a mission. I had two more Blind Spot reviews left to do: Spaceballs and Fist of the North Star. I just finished watching Spaceballs. Because I'm a badass, or an idiot - one of the two, I wrote my review for that while watching North Star. Since it was getting late, I set that review to publish at midnight, giving it a date of December 31.

Mrs. Dell's car needed to be repaired. She had to work on the 31st, so the job of getting it to our mechanic fell to me. We've been using him for years, so we know how he works. What that means is that when I called him to tell him I was coming, I made him promise he would get it done that day (he already knew what was wrong with it). This meant I would have to sit in the waiting room for five or six hours while he got the job done.

Not my actual mechanic.

Here was the plan:

  • Take my laptop and super-duper classified flashdrive containing reviews written under similar circumstances. This was needed because my mechanic has no internet connection at his shop. He only uses his computer for silly things like printing receipts.
  • Write the review for Fist of the North Star
  • Write out my list of the top 10 movies of 2018
  • If time permits, make out my Blind Spot List for 2019
  • Save all to the super-duper classified flashdrive
  • Return home to my desktop, plug in the flash and upload the review and the list to the blog
  • Publish both North Star and the top 10 before the Mrs. and I were to leave for New Year's festivities.

When I got to the shop, I got right to work on my plan. Fingers danced across the keyboard like Channing Tatum to Pony. Their tap-tap-tapping mixed with the whirring of power tools and clanging of blunt instruments against metal wielded by manly men created an industrious symphony that carried me through the morning into the afternoon. The review - done. The top 10 - done. Blind Spot List - done. File > Save > Clicked. The synergy was so crazy, that last act occurred just as Mr. Mechanic slams the hood on Mrs. Dell's car, bursts into the waiting room and says, "I got you straight, man." I pack up my shit, pay the man, and bounce happily out the door.

Here's the problem:

Let's go through my packing process. I pull the super-duper classified flash drive out of the USB, I set it on the table, and say to myself, "Dell, don't forget this." I unplug the charger and put it, with the laptop, in my bag. That's when I pay the man, and bounce happily out the door.

Did I mention it was about two minutes before closing time?

Well, it's a twenty minute drive to the Dell Cave. I get home, turn on the desktop, reach into the pocket on my bag where I keep the super-duper classified flash drive. And. Feel. Nothing. It must've fell out in the car, right? I go outside and tear up the inside of the vehicle looking for it. Nada. I go through my jacket pockets. I dig deeper, but still coming up with lint (hip hop reference). Then it hits me. It's sitting on that damn table. The shop is already closed, and won't open on New Years Day. By the 2nd, it was back to work for me. So I was stuck with just making a phone call that day in hopes that he found it before it fell into the wrong hands. The fate of the blogging world was hanging in the balance. Luckily, he had it. Since I was back to being a real adult with a job, and hours that don't match up real well with his, I couldn't get it for quite some time. Finally, I was able to retrieve it and without any of the death-defying feats of Skyfall, nor the shenanigans The Spy Who Dumped Me.

This time.

Next time, the world might not be so lucky.

With that, let's actually talk movies.

2018 was a big movie watching year for me. Like you, the number of films I have access to has been ballooning over the last few years. This year marked the year that I took the most advantage of this. At this time of year, in the past, I would usually have watched around 30 of that year’s new releases. Last year, it jumped to about 50. This year, I’m already over 80. For that, I have to thank a lot of different sources. My spring and summer fling with Movie Pass, followed by my new romance with AMC’s A-List has gotten me to over 20 trips to the theater. That might sound low to some of you hardcore movie buffs out there, but it’s the first time I’ve ever gone that many times in one year. My subscriptions to Netflix, and to a lesser degree, Hulu, gave me a plethora of new movies to watch. The local pawn shops, of which I’m a frequent visitor enabled me to buy a good number of this year’s releases on the cheap, generally from one to four dollars. Finally, when I wanted to splurge, Best Buy and Walmart were there. When you factor in the numerous movies I watched from prior years, you can see that film was coming out of my ears.

And I still didn’t see everything.

I’ve got a lot of movies from this year left to watch. That’s why this, as usual, is my list of the top ten movies of the year SO FAR. By the time I’m through there’s a chance none of these makes my official top 10. More likely, some of these will make that final list and the order will be shuffled around as my opinions morph. That official list won’t be out for at least a few months. I’m aiming for the summer. Don’t hold your breath waiting on it, though. I’m still putting together my official list of the best movies of 2017. Sigh.

Let’s find out what I really liked this year.

My Top 10 Movies of 2018…


10. Tully
The trio of Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody, and Charlize Theron strikes again, delivering a tough film about post-partum depression. The writing and directing work in tandem to facilitate another magnificent performance by its star. It’s advertised as a comedy, but don’t go in expecting a barrel of laughs. Any chuckles you get from this will be uneasy. (Full Review)

9. Thoroughbreds
Speaking of dark comedies, this one has the type of sense of humor that “normal” people might find disturbing. It’s about two teenage girls, Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) who form a rather odd bond which leads them to plot the murder of one girl’s stepfather. The behavior of the characters, particularly the emotionless Amanda, reminds one of something out of a Wes Anderson film. Imagine if Anderson made a morbid comedy about murderous kids and you’d be heading in the right direction.

8. Black Panther
We all know the MCU is made up of a growing fleet of interlocking movies, endlessly setting up the next entry. Black Panther gives us that universe’s most self-contained movie in years, and it’s most culturally ambitious. That doesn’t get it here, though. What does the trick is the best world-building in any movie of any genre from 2018, some of the strongest female characters to ever appear in a superhero flick, and a villain with a tangible, relatable point, a vision, and the motivation to see it through. (Full Review)

7. Incredibles 2
Sequels to films that are over a decade old are generally a losing proposition. In this case, it was a runaway success. The themes of family (especially parenthood) and female empowerment take center stage amidst a bunch of great action sequences and perfectly timed humor to give us one of the best superhero flicks in a year where we got a number of good ones. (Full Review)

6. The Kindergarten Teacher
This film about a teacher who recognizes and attempts to nurture a child prodigy is the most uncomfortable viewing experience I had all year. Every minute that passed slathered on another layer of hatred for our main character, yet I fell deeper and deeper into her rabbit hole, trying to make sense of her actions. Then it ended. I’ve been haunted by the final shot ever since. (Full Review)

5. Mission: Impossible Fallout
The M:I franchise has slowly won me over. It wasn’t until Ghost Protocol, the fourth movie in the series that I found one that really liked. By the time Rogue Nation ended, I finally called myself a fan and was looking forward to this one. I liked those two so much that I decided Fallout was going to be the first movie in the franchise that I was going to the theater for. That was a great decision, as I got the thrill of a lifetime.

4. Sorry to Bother You
I went into this film not knowing much about it, other than it was a black movie, and it was “different.” It was definitely both of those and gave me one of the weirdest theater experiences I ever had. That experience, filled with moments when I was the only person laughing and watching others walk out in the middle of the second and third acts, let me know that this is the type of film some will love, some will absolutely hate. It presents heady jokes, lots of metaphors to wade through, and a main character that speaks directly to me. For all of those things, I fall squarely on the side of love. (Full Review)

3. Avengers: Infinity War
When I go into an MCU film, I know there’s a formula they follow pretty closely. I’ve also bashed lots of other movies for doing that. However, what the good folks at Marvel have done, at least for me, is make that formula work over and over. In this case, I went in knowing that this movie was a setup for the next Avengers movie. I wasn’t ready to be so engaged by the bad guy and was still blown away by the ending I had an idea was coming. When it happened, you could feel the wind knocked out of everyone in the theater with me. (Full Review)

2. Hereditary
The title lets you know that the problems in this movie aren’t unique to the main character. They affect all of our kin, even those not afflicted. Hereditary brings that into sharp relief, especially thanks to a mesmerizing performance by Toni Collette. This film freaked me out the night I saw it, but I downplayed its quality a bit. I did the same in my review. Over the rest of the year, I kept thinking about it and its continuously grown in stature. (Full Review)

1. BlacKkKlansman
Spike Lee returns with his best movie in years. He takes a true event from the 1970s, adds a dollop of fiction to it, puts the pedal to the medal, and (almost literally) drives it right into 2018. Some have blasted the film for Lee’s trademark lack of subtlety. I’m a fan of subtlety, usually. Sometimes, however, sledgehammers and bullhorns need to be used. Lee’s film recognizes this and pounds away at those who need bludgeoning. (Full Review)

Honorable Mentions: Aquaman, Bird Box, Blindspotting, Deadpool 2, Den of Thieves, Eighth Grade, Game Night, Searching, Upgrade

Before you ask, I probably haven't seen that one, or that one...or that one, either. Yet. The most important thing to know is that this list is extremely likely to change.


  1. There's plenty of films that I'm still trying to catch up on as I'm going to watch If Beale Street Could Talk on Sunday morning as I'm excited for that one.

    I'm glad BlackKklansman is getting some love as that is a great film and certainly one of Spike's best films. Tully is coming to HBO next Saturday as I plan on watching that. There's so many to watch but so little time and so many other films to see.

    1. I need to Beale Street, myself. Soon, I hope. And BlacKkKlansman, whew. Love it. Hope you get to see Tully. Yeah, there are way more movies than any of us has time for. Sigh.

  2. Don't feel bad about your list being late (but yikes, I'd be going crazy if I left my flash drive at a shop) I don't have mine out yet either because I'm trying to see Beale Street first.

    We have a few matches on our list. I'm glad you have some love to Thoroughbreds. That movie was even better on the second watch for me.

    1. Trust me, I was all out of sorts about my flash drive. I was better once I got in contact with him and was assured he had it waiting for me.

      I hope to see Beale Street soon. And Into the Spider-verse. And a whole bunch more.

      Thoroughbreds is awesome. Another viewing might move it up my list.

  3. Everybody's saving March for Captain Marvel, April for Avengers: Endgame and July for Spider-Man: Far From Home

  4. Oh man thats so scary about the flash drive I would freak out. I dont actually publish my Best of list until I saw all the films I think may make it in there. Oscars are late why should I hurry :) Love the list especially the inclusion of Thoroughbreds its so underrated!

    1. Thoroughbreds needs to be seen by a lot more people.

  5. Not to worry if you are a little late with posts. Happens to me often. Nobody in the blogosphere will get mad at you. I can relate as I actually misplaced a flash drive myself. Think I dropped it or got swallowed by the vacuum cleaner. Looked everywhere and there were some anxious days thinking of all the places could be. Never found it again.

    The Mission: Impossible series is still going strong and I had a lot of fun with Fallout.

    Hereditary is one of my faves of 2018 as well and held my attention throughout. Colin Stetson's score added to the eeriness.

    A couple in your HMs which are higher up for me. I'll leave those for you to discover when I publish my top 10 at the end of January.

    1. I had to get this flash drive back, but not really because of any reviews on it. It also contained some more sensitive info that I should probably commit to memory. Sadly, I'm getting too old to do so.

      I have a sneaking suspicion that by the time I actually see more and more movies from 2018 and rewatch some of these, some of the ones from my HMs will go up and some from the top 10 will go down. We'll see. Looking forward to yours.

  6. At least you have an excuse for posting it late. I could blame the lack of home internet but the truth is that I'm just lazy😅 also there are still so many 2018 releases I need/want to see before writing my post.

    I hated Sorry to Bother You but I'm happy to see Tully on the list.

    1. The way I approach these year-end lists is to double-dip. I label the one that I actually post at the end/beginning of a year as "so far." At some point later, after I've seen a bunch more movies, I'll post an "official" list. If it helps, I still haven't posted the official list for 2017.

      Oh, I remember your review for StBY. And Tully is good stuff.

  7. I'd have been panicking too! I really did mean to see The Incredibles 2.

    1. Incredibles 2 is a blast. Hope you get to see it soon.

  8. I truly love sharing and comparing these Top 10 lists. Actually our lists only have one movie in common but it's a pretty big one. Still you mention several others that I like a lot and two I still need to see (Incredibles 2 and The Kindergarten Teacher). Great stuff Dell and Happy New Year!

  9. This is a dope list, Dell.

    From what I've seen, I'm almost in lock-step with you (bummed I missed Sorry to Bother You). But...uh...where's Spider-Verse?

    Should I avoid the Kindergarten Teacher? You've got me equal parts intrigued/petrified.

    (oh and by the way...LOVE your story about the mechanic. I thought I was the only one doing crazy shit like that [finishing posts in the most random of locations])

    1. Thanks!

      Sad to say I haven't seen Spider-Verse, yet. Emphasis on yet.

      Gotta get 'em in whenever/wherever you can.

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